Mountain Savior

March 2, 2009
By Anonymous

In a little town of Texas, there lived a 12-year old girl named Caressa, and her mother, Katie.
It was the end of school for Caressa. Summer vacation! Caressa wanted to experience nature. All she could think about was nature. Animals in the Cardamom Mountains included Javan rhinos, Indochinese tigers, and Asian elephants. But the best of all nature to her was the Indochinese tiger. She loved the deep rumbles they made when they purred, and how much ferocity they showed, about just how they could face many enemies, and survive. She never saw one, so she thought, how about a trip to the Cardamom Mountains. There, she would find her tigers. Her mother agreed to the trip, and they set off to Cambodia on a plane.

By the time the airplane took off, it was a beautiful sight. The clouds they passed by were like giant floating cotton balls. Caressa hoped it wouldn't pour rain when she arrived, since the Cardamoms produced 3,000-4,000mm of rain every year! Katie and Caressa were melted butter by the time they got a good glimpse of the Cardamoms from the plane. The trees that covered most of the mountains look like a bunch of broccoli. 'Wow!', Caressa and Katie said in unison. 'This green bruise stretches from the north of Thailand.', explained Katie.

'Really, that's amazing!', replied the dazed Caressa.

'Yep', said Katie causally. 'The mountains are also filled with many species, but is one of the least explored areas.', said Katie.

'Smells like pure adventure!', exclaimed Caressa.

'You've got to be the most daring person in the world, Caressa!', stated Katie. If your wondering what Caressa looked like, she had brown eyes, and matching tan skin. Her hair was the color of copper, dropping down to her back.

When the plane landed, Caressa right away dashed out of the plane. To her surprise, it was a bright sunny day. The region of the Cardamoms were huge. After all, the range was 2.5 million acres wide! 'Hey, Mom?', asked Caressa. 'How warm is it usually here?'

'I brought a average temperature table, but it's a table for December, and it is June. But maybe it says the temperature for December on here.', replied Mom, handing her the table. It didn't really say anything about Cambodia, but she learned a bit more about other countries in Asia.

They went off to a tour, to learn more about the mountains. The environment was superb. Evergreen tree canopies 700 meters up, grew 30 meters tall. They towered over the green grass, and the rocky ridges of the lower mountains. They finally met there tour guide. 'Good morning everybody. I will be your tour guide. As you should know, the mountains support 40 species on the endangered list, so please do not disturb nature. If you need me, my names Maria.'

They first took a tour past the Phnom Aural, trampling through the rocky path. 'These ancient granite ridges called Phnom Aural, is the highest point in all of Cambodia; about 1813 meters tall.', stated Maria. Next, they went past mountains that glittered in the sunlight. Maria claimed, 'The mountains contain large supplies of rubies, sapphires, and zircons.' Maria sounded like she said it for the millionth time. Literally. Suddenly, a sound came from among the trees. Out of the trees sprang a female Indochinese tiger. Everyone screamed. 'Roar!', cried out the tiger, her voice echoing upon the vast mountains. Caressa was the only one to stay calm. There was her dream animal, the one she loved the most. The dirt seemed to complain on the trail from all the scampering about. 'Calm down everyone!', stated Maria. Everyone suddenly zipped there mouths, still as statues. 'It's okay. This Indochinese tiger is Kasha. I can tell, because Kasha has a scar on her face. Hunting accident. She is only trying to find her missing cub, Runo. Hunting humans is the last thing on her mind.' Everyone relaxed there tensed muscles, and blew out a sigh of relief, except Caressa. She was still calm. To Caressa, Kasha looked depressed. Her ears and tail were drooped, there was innocence in her eyes, to say, please help find my cub. She roared helplessly, pleading for Runo to jump out and say, here I am!
Out of energy, she was panting, ending up thumping onto the spot she was, and fell asleep. A tear came from Caressa's eye; she felt the pain. 'While Kasha is sleeping I can tell a bit about the rare, great Indochinese tiger.', claimed Maria, looking sorry for Kasha. Maria acting like an educational book, told about the amazing tigers. 'The Indochinese tiger,(Panthera tigris corbetti)belongs to the kingdom Animalia, and the class Mammalia, just like we do. It also belongs to the phylum Chordata. It is a very proud, fearless creature of these vast mountains. Kasha here, should weigh about 221 to 287 pounds, and measure 2.30 to 2.55 meters. She is about 8 feet in length and has a skull length of 11 to 12 inches. 'Her cub Runo, if still in this world, should someday weigh 330 to 430 pounds, and measure 2.55 to 2.85 meters. Also, his length would be 9 feet long, and his skull length 13 to 14 inches. They usually eat a variety of hoofed mammals, including antelope, wild boars, and wild pigs. Most Indochinese tigers live in subtropical moist, broadleaved forests. Some live in hilly to mountainous terrain. Kasha lives sort of in between here, because the Cardamoms are made up of mountains and lots of forest. She has stripes for camouflage in grasslands or brush environments. Her sense of smell is so highly developed that she could remember us by just sense of smell! Does anyone have any questions?'

'I do', said Caressa. 'How could have Kasha got that slash on her face during hunting, when the only creatures she hunts is mammals?'

'Well,'replied Maria. 'It wasn't the prey that caused the scar. There was another tiger hunting the same prey. So when Kasha caught the prey, the other tiger came up, wanting the food for himself, and scratched her face with his claws. Kasha gave up her prey, and ran away. Food here is scarce for animals.'

'How awful!', protested Caressa.

Later on the hike, Caressa seemed to hear a baby growl from under a large rock dug deep into the mountains. Curious, and adventurous as she was, she snuck past her mother, back toward the rock. When the group was out of sight, with all her strength, she managed to lift up the heavy rock. She was amazed. Under that rock, was what looked like, a small passageway to cave. Being brave and all, she crept through the claustrophobic passageway, hearing the baby growl clearer every step of the way. She finally got to the source of the sound. In a small section of the cave, there was a row of guns, elephant tusks, carving knives, snare traps, and, gulp, animal skins. There was also a baby Indochinese tiger caught in a net, surrounded by three armed men. They were poking at the cub, while the cub growled.
'Should we make a coat of you? Or perhaps a rug. People would pay good money for you.', said one of the men. There was only one word for these men. Poachers.

Caressa, for what seemed a long finally decided to do something about it, and snuck over to the cub. She thought it could possibly be Runo, the missing cub. But she slipped and got the poachers attention. They all whipped there heads around. 'So', muttered a poacher, 'What should we do with you? Can't let a little girl like you reveal us.' The poachers started creeping forward. Caressa backed up, her heart skipping beats. Then suddenly, Kasha sprinted toward the poachers, wild with rage. The poachers suddenly made a dash through another endless passageway. Caressa thought, on no, Kasha is going to kill them. But that was the last thing on her mind. She dashed to Runo, and unwound Runo from the net. She cradled Runo in her arms. Then she dashed to find where Kasha was. She found her all right. Plus the poachers weren't going anywhere. They were caught in one of there own net traps; Kasha outsmarted them in there own game. Kasha just stood her guard near the poachers, ready to pounce if needed. Runo then pounced happily out of Caressa's arms, and scrambled to Kasha. Kasha then took him and laid down to lick her cub clean, lick any mother tiger would do to her cub. Then she took Runo's neck gently in her mouth, lifting her up. She walked toward Caressa, and Caressa swore she just winked at her. Kasha then left the cave, and went to return home with her Runo, now content being united with her cub.

After the incident, Katie found Caressa watching Runo and Kasha from a distance, fighting playfully with each other. Her mom worried sick, asked what happened. Even the newspaper had the story retold on the front page, after she told her mom how Kasha came and saved her and Runo in the cave. The wanted poachers were jailed for a long time. The paper told how Kasha was a born hero of the Cardamoms. For she not only united with her cub, she saved a tourist from the poachers, and future animal deaths the poachers planned, also increasing the food supply. People called Kasha, the
'Savior of the Mountains.'

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